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Carragher Was Aware of Doubters Before Season

With only eight games remaining in his career, Jamie Carragher has spoken of the changes Brendan Rodgers has wrought at Liverpool—and of being aware of the doubts many had that he could adjust to the new manager.

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Alex Livesey

With the international break putting the season on hold for a week, the last memories Liverpool fans will have of their club playing is defeat at the hands of relegation battlers Southampton. For the players not out on international duty, though, the focus remains on the season as a whole and preparing for Aston Villa on Sunday.

Amongst those not off fighting for World Cup qualification, veteran Jamie Carragher is clear the clear leader on and off the pitch, and with most eyes still focused on the fortunes of England and Uruguay and Spain he's taken the chance to pull focus back to the club level and to the impact he believes new manager Brendan Rodgers has so far had.

"We've always played football at the club," Carragher told the official website, "but I would say that Brendan Rodgers has taken it on another level in terms of playing football. He wants us to play even more football than I have ever been brought up to play. But we've always been a passing club and that will never change."

What has changed—or at least seemed to for those on the outside looking in—is Carragher's willingness to keep the ball on the deck and play possession football after a career spent building a reputation as something of an agrarian footballer both with and without the ball.

Yet despite that he came into the year with a reputation for embracing long balls and route one football, in the final season of his career the defender has embraced Rodgers' approach as clearly any other player.

"At the start of the season I was aware that some people were saying I wouldn't suit Rodgers' style of football," he said. "But I think I have put that to bed in the last few games I have played. I think I've played well this season, without blowing my own trumpet.

"Even earlier in the season when I was playing in Europe and in the Carling Cup, I was quite pleased with how I performed [and] hopefully I can carry that through to the end of the season."

Despite his strong performances of late, Carragher still has no plans to reconsider his impending retirement—and a cozy spot beside Gary Neville on Sky Sports seems increasingly likely. What has been clear, though, is that no matter what his future holds, his current farewell tour has been earned through solid performances on the pitch.

Skepticism regarding his ability to fit into Rodgers' preferred approach at the start of the season may not have been entirely unjustified, but with his career entering its final eight games it's been encouraging to see in Carragher's embrace of pass and move football that every once in a while you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks.

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